“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
April was a heavy month. The influences from that tetrad of ‘blood moon’ lunar eclipses? No joke. I’ve been very empathetic for as long as I can remember, so it makes sense that as everyone’s horoscopes had been predicting struggles around then, I would feel theirs along with my own.
Up until last month, two of my very best friends were roommates. Their apartment was our go-to spot; countless memories were made soaking up the sun and moonlight through the vast bay window in their living room. Over the past few months, however, financial issues cast a shadow over these good times. Sitting in the middle of their couch, I offered both of my ears and tried to keep my advice as neutral as possible. Despite trying my damnedest to bridge the gap, the situation was essentially out of my hands – and now they’re both out of an apartment. In order to give the support they both needed, I’d been completely removing my personal emotions from the situation. But after I helped both of them move out (on two separate occasions), months of suppression caught up with me.
I care so much for the safety and well-being of those I love, that sometimes I allow it to consume me. The living situation of my friends has affected me so much that you would think that I had also been their roommate. I actually was the last person to close their apartment door, and it crushed me. I often take on the problems of my loved ones on as if they were my own – but I need to stop. There is a fine line between offering support and invading someone’s space, a line that’s always been difficult for me to find.
I’ve been through many hardships, whether I experienced them first-hand or witnessed someone I love go through their struggle. I have been developing this empathy for a long time; I can’t help but care so much. However, this causes me to put unrealistic expectations on myself in terms of my responsibility to help, and it often stresses me out to the point where I lose the focus on helping myself. I now have been studying meditation for the past six months, and I’m proud to say it’s helped me put the days of a life-long anxiety struggle behind me. I now allow myself to take priority while continuing towards greater awareness of my endless compassion, and maintaining my own space.
At the risk of sounding grandiose, I’ve found my own beauty – and allowed myself to revel in it – because I continuously see that same beauty in those who struggle to see it themselves. If I can help someone I love avoid heartache, I will do it at any expense – as long as I’m still taking care of myself, first.